Balancing

Today was about staying on track, both personally and as a Priestess. This started with me taking a couple days off since my husband just returned home from a long business trip, so I could give him all my attention and reconnect. This was essential for me to refind center, and so he could adapt to the various changes in routine due to the approach of Hekate Rising.

First was letting him know about the diet restrictions. While I don’t hold either him or my son to my restrictions, they are both sweet enough to adhere to them as well, at least when I’m present, to make it easier for me and to smooth such things as meal planning. Since the restrictions vary from year to year, and this year is fairly strict as compared to others, it was a bit for him to process. Fortunately, he did return home basically in the home stretch, so he’s only going to have to be a good sport until the end of next week.

I also let him know about the writing, and informed him that I wished to get back to it, because it does help me keep focused during this preparation time. It’s fine to want to chill on the sofa together in the evening and have a bit of us time, but my spiritual practice is important to me, and that includes keeping up the writing. I value this time near the end of my day to reflect and think about how my sacred life and mundane life intersect and co-mingle. Today they intersected mostly in my reminding my spouse that my spiritual work is a priority, even when he’s home.

The final piece of the balancing puzzle came with work. As a home-care nurse, I can be called and asked to pick up work at all hours, and have families asking me if I can come in on days when I’m normally not available. My giving nature makes me want to say yes, but if I said yes every time I was asked, I’d never see my family, and my spiritual practice would get lost in the work shuffle. I’ve done that before, and I nearly lost myself in the process. So one of my sacred challenges as an active Priestess is learning to say “no” and preserve the balance between the needs of my patients and my own needs. It’s easy to feel guilty when saying “no” to a patient’s mom who wants time to go work extra hours, or go to a family event, but it is part of making my connection with Hekate a priority in my life.

I did my devotee dedication and pledged myself as Her priestess many years ago, and it’s not something I take lightly. It’s why, when I teach students who wish to follow this same Path, I let them know right off the bat that it’s a commitment that must be taken seriously. It’s more than possible to follow a Pagan Path and be devoted to a deity without taking on the commitment of being a Priestess or Priest. In fact, if you don’t have the time or the energy to commit to the study, then you definitely don’t have time to commit to the Work.

Keeping it Zen

AceofCups

The last thirty-six hours have not been fun for LGBTQIA folk such as myself. It’s middling unfun for me personally since not as much of the nonsense was specifically directed at my part of the spectrum, buuuuuuuuut it hardly matters how it impacts me when it impacts several million people living here in the USA. However, I must say seeing a brief filed by DOJ saying that equal rights protections under Title VII don’t apply to me because I am in that spectrum was a gut punch. It’s like we’re fighting the same old fights again, and personally, I’m tired of it. I know it’s much worse for trans folk, since much more spleen from His Occupancy of the Oval Office was vented directly at them, but all the same Title VII is quite a bit to have go away in one brief. I hope the courts disagree.

It’s been easy to go from one end of the mood pendulum to the other, just waiting to see what that buffoon will do next. It’s easy to lash out at other folk in the Community as well as Allies. They know it’s bad, and their attempts at protest, humorous or serious, can be misunderstood or misconstrued, and attempts to correct them can make a gulf between the Community and Allies open up as they tire of us lecturing them on our newest no-no list. Hell, I tire of it, too, because I can hardly keep up with what the more Social Justice Warrior types among those I know in the community (and out of it for that matter) are going to decide is the offensive faux-pas of the week. I got to the point where I was over-reacting in all directions, and that was before the most recent load of nonsense.

So I stepped back. Trying to see both the forest and the trees, instead of lost in too much big picture or too much niggling details. Trying not to burn bridges or add fuel to the fires burning all over. Asked The Boss to help me find the words that would chill the situation the hell down before we all give ourselves coronaries.

Hekate is great at that – communicating I mean. She’s our Lady of the Crossroads, places where boundaries touch and people meet. As goddess of liminal spaces, She’s a natural for helping us build the bridges we need to cross from one space to another, and to open minds and hearts. Hekate’s a realm-crossing badass who doesn’t allow Her followers the luxury of excuses or self-deceptions, so we also have to work on our communication as part of opening doors with the Keys that She provides. So I dug deep when I saw situations escalating and people who should realize they are on the same side starting to succumb to the Occupant’s efforts to divide us. And I found my right words. I found the love. I found the humor. I found the way to teach both sides simultaneously and re-open the door.

We need to leave our egos out of the equation. Part of the Dark Night of the Soul within the Fool’s Journey in the tarot is The Tower. It’s the card of ego-death, where all the layers of what we think we are get cracked open so the Light of Truth can fill us. It’s a rough process. It’s painful. Slaughtering our personal sacred cows and using them as barbecue always is. But it’s so necessary. Turning to The Boss when the Tower is part of my life has helped me get through it. She doesn’t take shit from us, and She won’t let us accept our own hype. Hekate’s a tough-love goddess to be sure. But She takes you to that point where all you have left is who you are for real, and when you get there, finding the Zen and sharing it with others becomes that much easier.

 

Dark Moon

Deipnon, the dark moon time sacred to Hekate, is a time for cleansing and purging. I have been doing that as the moon waned. Bits and pieces here and there, reorganizing my house to make things smoother, and to help things make more sense. It started with reorganizing and purging the kitchen and dining room spaces, and today it extended into the Temple proper.

Abby, youngest daughter of my friend and Sister Janelle, and one of my son’s best friends, was given a belated birthday afternoon with my son today by going to see Wonder Woman in the theater. This was a great time, my third for seeing the movie, and it just keeps getting better. Afterwards we came by the house because Abby had asked me if I had a corset or something that she could wear for a local cosplay event.

I had a couple possibilities, and I knew that one of them was likely in the Temple room. Recently with all the tarot decks and books from both my projects coming into the house in boxes, the Temple room has doubled as a cat-free storage space, and it has become a bit of a shambles. Looking for the cosplay stuff with Abby gave me a chance to clear the space and make it usable again. We found part of what she was looking for, but not quite what she wanted. We also simplified the room’s contents, moving the remaining decks and books into more consolidated containers and getting rid of other detritus in the process. I also found several things that I knew I would need to pack for Hekate Rising.

Abby spent much of our hunting time asking me about various things we found. She’s been raised Pagan, just as Tadziu has, but she’s inexperienced in the various accoutrements of Pagan practice, and honestly has little knowledge of various deities, practicing more of a generic Earth-centric Pantheism. So cleaning and arranging also became a time for some basic education, mostly just the names of the deities for whom there were altars in the Temple. Starting, of course, with Hekate Herself, when I asked Abby to put a box of supplies next to Hekate’s altar, we proceeded around the room, covering in turn Isis, Artemis, and Kali.it laid the ground work for her, and gave her something to explore on her own with her mom later on.

So dark moon became a time of cleansing, organizing, and teaching. Truly a good use of the time, and the Temple itself.

The Storms That Shake Your Soul

As can be inferred by the title of this blog, the aspect of Hekate that I work most closely with is Einalia, the Lady of the Waters. Living near the Great Lakes, Her presence is strong and has been with me since the first time we did Hekate Rising in 2010. One of the highlights of that year was doing a silent meditation under the stars while standing in the mirror-calm waters of Lake Michigan as the Perseids rained down. It was a profound experience for all who participated.

There is another aspect of The Boss who plays a major part in my life and my work and that is Brimo, Lady of Storms.  I have always been a child of the thunderstorm, feeling most alive when the winds blow fiercely and the lightning blazes across the sky. A late-night thunderstorm is usually a guarantee of a short night of sleep – not because the thunder itself bothers me, but because as the winds rise, I awaken and become energized. I used to drive my mom crazy when I was a child because I would run out and play in the storms if I could get away with it. I once even volunteered to be the one to run outdoors in the middle of a hail storm to get fresh vegetables from our garden.

This last week has been one storm after another, usually popping up in late afternoon and roaring all night. So I have been quite the insomniac as my energy batteries for creative work go on overload while the rain comes down in torrents and 80+mph winds whip the trees into a frenzy. I am glad that I tend not to suffer for it later. It is a gift of Brimo to me that the storms and I love each other.

Of course, this is not always the case. One story which I always keep in my mind to safe-guard against getting too big for my britches when dealing with any aspect of Hekate, let alone Brimo, is one that dates back to the summer of 2010, while planning for the first Hekate Rising. I had just left the local grocery store after buying some supplies for the first retreat when an afternoon thunderstorm began. My car at the time was almost 10 years old, and it would occasionally get cranky at inconvenient moments. It chose the drive home during that storm to act up in a dangerous way.

As the sky turned green and the rain poured down, the windshield wipers stopped functioning. This happened just as I was driving up the incline of an overpass. Suddenly I couldn’t see a thing, and it was incredibly scary. There I was in my car, supplies for Hekate Rising in the trunk, my nine-year-old son in the back seat, and I can’t see where I’m going! I was internally warring between being terrified that I would drive into oncoming traffic or off the overpass and being furious at my car and the weather for putting me in this spot. As I crawled along, trying not to kill us, I finally broke and vented my spleen by telling Brimo that if She wanted me to do this damned retreat, then She’d better do something about my car or the weather so I didn’t kill myself!

Well, the rain quickly stopped, and I was able to get home safely. I got my son inside, then as I was unloading my trunk to bring the supplies indoors, the sky opened back up and this time the rain was accompanied by hail, which pelted me mercilessly as I bolted for the door with bags in hand. An amused voice in the thunder seemed to say, “You made it home safely; now do your Work, and don’t be so lippy!”

Since that time, I’ve continued the Work that She gave me that summer. It has cost me at times, but it always ends up being for the best. Each time the thunder rumbles and the winds rise, I listen for Brimo’s voice in the storm, and I thank Her for my life, which has been Hers since that storm in July 2010. And I remember to mind my manners!

 

Overload

Today I dealt with one of the drawbacks of a nearly meat-free diet for me: empathic overload. The less meat I consume, the more psychically sensitive I am (and that’s pretty much the case for anyone with any kind of sensitivity to magickal energies). That’s very good for doing ritual work or when working with the tarot or other divination that I do during the lead up to the Mysteries. However, it becomes an issue when I’m in a patient’s home with his very over-whelmed mother who is worried about her coverage since the regular nurse (I’m the respite nurse) is going to be taking vacation. Today I was bombarded with that for an entire shift and no way to shield because I have to pick up on my patient’s tiniest nuance since he can’t speak and has little body language.

The fallout was a general sense of anxiety to start with, which progressed to confusion, feelings of being shunted aside, and then when I started to try and push past it, over-compensation in an attempt to sound cheerful. By the time I got home I was definitely, as we nurses state it, emotionally labile. Generalized feelings of doom combined with a desire to curl up and cry, plus a heaping dose of hyper-apologia, bleah. Fortunately my son knew right away I wasn’t myself, got me into my room, and brought me cats. Cats, for those not used to their ways, are great for sensing distress and using their natural soothing tendencies to calm emotions and lower the overall physical and emotional manifestations of it. A heavy dose of Popkin and Leeloo was quite the physic, then I spent time talking to The Boss, got a one-meal-only dispensation to eat some chicken to finish the grounding process I needed to get back to equilibrium, and took my sweet boy out for dinner to a place that has a Tuesday special that includes their famous broasted chicken, a three-topping pizza, and salad in as much quantity as one might wish to eat for a quite reasonable sum. I got to ground, the sixteen-year-old stomach got fed in vast quantities, and all was restored to normal.

Lessons from this: 1) carry a grounding stone with me until this period is over; 2) make sure to get more sleep even if I resist it (I’m going through one of my periodic bouts of insomnia and that just heightens the issues with not being as grounded as I normally am); and 3) don’t be afraid to ask anyone, including Hekate (or perhaps especially Hekate) for what I need when I truly need it.